When most auto repair shop owners brainstorm about investing in their businesses, they tend to think about adding new equipment or inventory, redecorating their interiors, or putting more money into the marketing budget. Fewer managers think about making a regular investment in training their employees to add or improve their skill sets. While it’s very satisfying to spend money on something that you can own and keep indefinitely, your workers – not new tech and not updated waiting rooms – are the ones who actually bring in money and make auto shops profitable over time.
Continuous education is very important in this industry, whether that means customer service training, service advisor training, auto tech training, or any employee attending a class or studying to achieve further certification. Management training is similarly important. There are several reasons why:
Because auto repair is continuously changing and becoming more technology dependent. How can your workers keep up with change and innovation within the industry if they do not get additional training? The time an employee needs to improve his skills or his familiarity with the industry is less than the time it takes that worker to hunt down the information he needs to do his job while on the clock – or the time it will take him to correct an expensive mistake.
Because investing in your workers is demonstrating that they are valuable to you. Not every employee you invest in will remain in your shop forever, but often when an employer shows loyalty, workers will return that loyalty over time. A good manager will be able to tell which workers are very valuable and worth putting time and money into. The old business adage about customers also works for workers: it’s easier to keep a good mechanic than it is to find another one. Employee retention is an important goal for every sector of the service industry.
Because investment is another form of compensation. Workers have different needs. Some will be primarily motivated by money, but as a recent survey we did showed, quality employees also want appreciation and respect. Investing in your employees is showing them that respect and meeting a need that is just as important as good pay to a large percentage of them.
Because taking the time to train can correct patterns of mistakes. This is especially true for employees in customer service because those positions are often filled by untrained people who, with better education, can understand why systems and procedures are so critical in business and then do their jobs more effectively.
If you want your auto repair shop to increase its productivity, efficiency, and profitability, education is always a good investment to make. Not every class, seminar, or certification program is worthwhile, of course, but good businesses are staffed by hardworking and well trained people. Consider that when you evaluate how to spend the money in your investment budget this year.